It is well known that Football, as a formal game, was established and rationalised in the public schools of England during the 19th Century and Shrewsbury School had a key role in the development of this. Indeed, the school has a copy of the original Cambridge Rules from 1856 which predate the Rules set out by the F.A. (1863).
By the 1860s football was established sufficiently for all Houses to field a 1st and 2nd XI side across all age groups and in 1888 the House Football Knockout Competition was established.
Whilst the F.A. Cup predates this (1871), the Shrewsbury School House Football Competition is one of the oldest continuous Cup competitions in the world, perhaps only pre-dated by Charterhouse’s own House Cup Competition, as neither had breaks during the World Wars as the F.A. Cup did.
Whilst 2020 has been a year of change and to some extent upheaval, the Football House Knockout Competition has continued, and perhaps helps to serve as a reminder and a symbol of the stability during turbulent times that Schools like Shrewsbury afford its pupils, community and wider society.
The eagerly anticipated House Knockout Competition kicked off last week. Saturday afternoon witnessed 12 quarter-finals played under very tight COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions. However, these did not dampen the spirits, enthusiasm and competitiveness of the afternoon’s games.
In the 1st House Competition, pre-tournament favorites Port Hill negotiated a tricky opening game against Ingrams with a comprehensive to a 5-0 win. Having claimed victory in their preliminary round v Churchills, it was one game too far for Oldham’s as they were defeated 5-1 by a strong Radbrook outfit. The next two games were much closer with School House edging out Riggs 1-0, and Severn Hill beating Ridgemount 4-2, in a tight game which could have gone either way. Every House will now be hoping to avoid Port Hill when the draw is made for the semi-finals.
In the 15 House competition it is again Port Hill, who seem to be the team to beat. They were convincing winners in their game against a spirted Severn Hill side. Radbrook also looked particularly strong as they cruised past School House in their game. However, Riggs appear capable of upsetting the Day Boy House dominance in the competition, as they beat Ridgemount 8-2 in their game. The final semi-final place was claimed by Oldham’s, who played well to beat Ingrams 4-0. An interesting semi-final draw awaits.
The 2nd House competition witnessed four extremely well contested games. Severn Hill made it two semi-finals out of the three competitions with a hard fought 3-1 victory over Churchill’s. In another really close game, Port Hill edged out Ridgemout 3-1. School House also made it into their 2nd semi- final of the afternoon as they claimed a 2-1 victory against a spirited Oldham’s, scoring in the final couple of minutes to secure the win. The final semi-final place was claimed by Radbrook, as they overcame Riggs 2-0.
All Houses will be looking forward to the Semi Final draw which will take place on Monday 16th November with Semi Final games taking place on Friday 27th November.